Bradley v. Bruce

Decision Date17 March 1986
Docket NumberNo. 85-253,85-253
Citation705 S.W.2d 431,288 Ark. 342
PartiesDanny BRADLEY, Appellant, v. Dale BRUCE et al., Appellees.
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Hilburn, Bethune, Calhoon, Forster, Harper & Pruniski, by John F. Forster & Dorcy Kyle Corbin, N. Little Rock, for appellant.

Jim Hamilton, City Atty. by Terry R. Ballard, Asst. Atty. Gen., N. Little Rock, for appellees.

HICKMAN, Justice.

The issue on appeal concerns the promotion eligibility list for the North Little Rock police. Danny Bradley, a sergeant, made the highest score on the examination for lieutenant. However, he was not listed first because the Civil Service Commission passed a rule that seniority is a factor to be considered in determining eligibility for promotions, causing points for years of service to be added to the test score. Wilson Parker, who had more seniority but made a lesser grade on the test, was listed first and has intervened in this case.

In a declaratory judgment suit, the circuit court held Arkansas law did not prohibit the Civil Service Commission from using seniority as a criterion to determine ranking on eligibility lists. We find Arkansas law is to the contrary, requiring that the person with the highest test score be promoted.

Ark.Stat.Ann. § 19-1603 (Repl.1980) provides for the Board of Civil Service to prescribe rules and regulations for police and fire departments. That statute states:

These rules shall provide ... 9th. For promotion based upon open competitive examinations of efficiency, character and conduct, lists shall be created for each rank of service and promotions made therefrom as provided herein. 6th. ... and for the promotion or advancement of the one standing highest on the eligibility list for that rank of service.

This statute covers two separate subjects relevant here: (1) applicants who are to be hired, and (2) employees who are to be promoted. Undoubtedly, the Commission has been reading the statute using the two separate categories of individuals interchangeably, because the practice has been to forward an eligibility list containing the three persons ranked highest (figuring in seniority) to the department head. That practice is wrong. The statutory language which speaks of certification of the three highest persons refers to the appointment of applicants, not the promotion of employees. The very next sentence in the statute deals with promotions which we have already quoted. In Orrell v. City of Hot Springs, 265 Ark. 267, 578...

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8 cases
  • Worth v. Civil Service Com'n of El Dorado, 87-229
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • March 7, 1988
    ...did not provide for seniority to be used as a factor in promotion. Thus, seniority could not be used as a factor. Bradley v. Bruce, 288 Ark. 342, 705 S.W.2d 431 (1986). The trial court recited that it did not apply the case of Bradley v. Bruce, supra, because that would amount to a retroact......
  • Virden v. Roper
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • April 23, 1990 be in violation of law. See, for example, Worth v. Civil Service Commission, 294 Ark. 643, 746 S.W.2d 364 (1988); Bradley v. Bruce, 288 Ark. 342, 705 S.W.2d 431 (1986); Amason v. City of El Dorado, 281 Ark. 50, 661 S.W.2d 364 (1983); Civil Service Commission v. Matlock, 205 Ark. 286, 168......
  • Worth v. Civil Service Com'n of El Dorado, 88-188
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • December 5, 1988
    ...have been promoted to one of the two openings which occurred during the eligibility period. After our decision in Bradley v. Bruce, 288 Ark. 342, 705 S.W.2d 431 (1986), Worth filed suit against the Civil Service Commission of El Dorado contending that the use of seniority was a violation of......
  • City of Fort Smith v. Driggers, 90-313
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • May 6, 1991
    ...of government are required to be based solely on examination scores. Ark.Code Ann. § 14-51-301(b)(9)(A) (1987). See Bradley v. Bruce, 288 Ark. 342, 705 S.W.2d 431 (1986), reh'g denied, 288 Ark. 343-A, 713 S.W.2d 451 (1986). There is, however, a provision in Section 7(a) of Act 36 of 1967, q......
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